Once upon a time, a long time ago. there was a king in Ireland. Ireland had lots of small kingdoms in those days, and this king’s kingdom was one among many. Both king and kingdom were quite ordinary and nobody paid much attention to either of them
But one day, the king received a huge beautiful diamond from a relative who had died. It was the largest diamond anyone had ever seen. It dazzled everyone. The other kings began to pay attention to him for if he had a diamond like this he must be special. The people, too, came from far and wide to see the diamond. The king had it on constant display in a glass box so that all who wished could come to see and admire it. Of course, armed guards kept a constant vigil. Both king and kingdom prospered, and the king attributed all his good fortune to the diamond.
One day a nervous guard asked to see him. The guard was visibly shaken. He told the king the terrible news: the diamond had developed a flaw! A crack right down the middle! The king was horrified and ran to the glass box to see for himself. It was true, the diamond was now flawed terribly.
He called on all the jewellers in the land to ask their advice. They gave him only bad news. The flaw was so deep, they said, that if they were to try to sand it down, they would grind it to practically nothing, and if they tried to split it into two still substantial stones, it might easily shatter into a million fragments.
As the king pondered these terrible options, an old jeweller who had arrived late came to him and said, “If you will give me a week with that stone, I think I can fix it.” The king didn’t believe him at first because the other jewellers were so sure it couldn’t be fixed, but the old man was insistent. Finally the king relented, but he said he couldn’t let the diamond out of his castle. The old man said that would be alright. He could work there and the guards could stand outside the room where he was working.
The king, having no better solution, agreed to let the old man work. For a week he and the guards hovered about, hearing scratching and gentle pounding and grinding. They wondered what he was doing and what would happen of the old man was tricking them.
Finally, the week was up and the old man came out of the room. King and guards rushed in to see the man’s work, and the king burst into tears of joy! It was better! The old man had carved a perfect rose on top of the diamond, and the crack that ran down inside now was the stem of the rose.
When the Irish tell this story, they say that this is the way God heals us. He takes our deepest flaw and turns it – and us – into something beautiful.